“I will never be bendy... my body just isn’t like that” - my thoughts, every day for years & years.
Now, I am not goal orientated in my practice, but I am blown away over and over again by the progress that can be made when we just buckle down and do the work. I spent my whole life being driven by goals and results...always under pressure to perform and obtain certain outcomes, whether it was in school or sport. Overlooking the journey and focusing on the finish line. I have had to unlearn everything I’ve ever known, change my thought patterns and mental pathways, and approach my practice from a completely different perspective than what I’ve been used to.
This is one of the main things I try to share with my students... the idea that you should only be concerned with where you are at, right now... and trying to accept that place, fully. I believe if you do this whole heartedly, then progress is inevitable. Over time...with practice, heaps of discipline, and an overall curiosity and understanding of your own practice and your own unique body... things will shift. The asana help us build strength and find space in the body. But it’s not just the asana. It’s everything. The breath, the bandhas, the work on and off the mat. The food you put in your body. The things you avoid. The way you think. The way you feel. The other things you do to supplement your physical practice. The studying. The exploring. The listening and the hearing. Each asana has a personality or a heartbeat... and just like life, a heartbeat in the physical body is no good if everything else is suffering. If I can give you one piece of advice on the mat, it is - move SLOWLY... because a slow and mindful yoga practice teaches us to pay attention.
So whatever you’re practicing, practice for practice sake. Be purposeful and intentional without being attached to the outcomes. I am slowly learning to be proud of the changes that are happening in my body, but I am way more proud of the changes that have happened in my life. Because ultimately this shape will mean nothing when I’m gone... but hopefully the things I’ve learned along the way will help me live life a little more fully until then.